This is the time of year
when I bring outdoor stuff indoors and garage storage space gets scarce. My
favorite storage solution is to shove more and more stuff "up in the rafters."
And that got me thinking... how much weight can my roof trusses take?
Here's the official answer:
Unless you have "storage trusses" specifically engineered for extra weight, you
shouldn't store anything in them. They're designed to support your roof, not
But if you ask engineers
what they do in their own garages, you'll get a different answer. The
horizontal bottom chords of most garage trusses are designed to carry the
weight of drywall and insulation. So if your ceiling is unfinished, you have
some excess carrying capacity up there: 5 lbs. per sq. ft. is a safe estimate.
That means you could lay a 2 x 4-ft. scrap of plywood over the chords and set about
40 lbs. of stuff on it. Make sure items are spaced so that the weight is evenly
distributed over the chords.
This goes for manufactured
roof trusses--the kind assembled with metal "gussets." If you have traditional site-built roof
framing, your storage capacity depends on the design of the framing.
Finally, make sure stored
items are securely locked in place. As demonstrated by the dent in my pickup's
hood, vibrations from the garage door opener can cause items to shimmy around and
eventually crash down onto your car--or you.
Here are some more garage
- Super-simple shelves and
plastic bins make an easy, economical system: Building a Garage Storage Wall
- You've seen those versatile
wall-hanging systems in stores. Here's one you can build yourself: Garage Storage Systems